Blue-throated Dwarf-Iguana

Reptiles of Ecuador | Sauria | Hoplocercidae | Enyalioides microlepis

Spanish common name: Iguana enana gargantiazul.

Recognition: ♂♂ 31.5 cm ♀♀ 26.4 cm. In eastern Ecuador, Enyalioides microlepis is the only dwarf iguana (genus Enyalioides) distributed south of the Napo river occurring below 800 m and having a dorsolateral row of enlarged spiny scales. The most similar species are E. cofanorum, which occurs north of the Napo river, and E. praestabilis, which occurs above 800 m.

Picture: Adult male.

Adult male Enyalioides microlepis

Picture: Adult female.

Adult female Enyalioides microlepis

Natural history: Uncommon. Enyalioides microlepis is a diurnal primarily terrestrial to semiarboreal lizard that sleeps under logs or perched on sticks and branches 0.5–1 m above the ground during the night.13 It occurs in primary and secondary evergreen forests.1,2 Females of this E. microlepis containing five eggs have been found.1

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Conservation: Least Concern.4 Enyalioides microlepis is listed in this category because this species is widely distributed, occurs in protected areas, and (presumably) is not undergoing population declines nor facing major immediate threats of extinction.4

Distribution: Amazonian lowlands in Ecuador and Peru. Colombian records of this species likely correspond to Enyalioides cofanorum.

Distribution of Enyalioides microlepis in Ecuador

Etymology: The generic name Enyalioides, which comes from the Latin words Enyalius (a genus of neotropical lizards) and oides (meaning “similar to”), refers to the similarity between lizards of the two genera.5 The specific epithet microlepis, which comes from the Greek words mikros (meaning “small”) and lepis (meaning “scale”),6 refers to the small scales on the head of this lizard.7

Authors: Alejandro ArteagaaAffiliation: Khamai Foundation, Quito, Ecuador. and Gabriela Aguiar.

Literature cited:

  1. Cisneros-Heredia DF (2005) Enyalioides cofanorum (Cofan Wood Lizard). Reproduction. Herpetological Review 35: 176–177.
  2. Field notes, Reptiles of Ecuador book project.
  3. Torres-Carvajal O, Etheridge R, De Queiroz K (2011) A systematic revision of Neotropical lizards in the clade Hoplocercinae. Zootaxa 2752: 1–44.
  4. Caicedo J, Calderón M, Cisneros-Heredia DF, Ines Hladki A, Ramírez Pinilla M, Renjifo J, Urbina N, Perez P, Gagliardi G (2016) Enyalioides microlepis. The IUCN red list of threatened species. Available from:
  5. Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D (2018) Reptiles del Ecuador. Version 2018.0. Available from:
  6. Brown RW (1956) Composition of scientific words. Smithsonian Books, Washington, 882 pp.
  7. O'Shaughnessy AWE (1881) An account of the collection of lizards made by Mr. Buckley in Ecuador, and now in the British Museum, with descriptions of the new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 49: 227–245.